RECENT fundraising efforts to extend Western Care Lodge have helped to show community support for a second linear accelerator in Orange, according to Cancer Care Western NSW vice-chairman Stuart Porges.
The eight-day Cruisin’ Along rally that finished last Saturday raised around $80,000 towards a bill of $900,000 to build stage two of the Lodge which houses people while they receive cancer treatment in Orange.
Dr Porges said a second linear accelerator for radiation treatment at the Orange Health Service was essential to service the wider community. He believes recent fundraising efforts will assist in the accelerator funding being approved.
“I think there’s a tremendous community support, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” he said.
Dr Porges said NSW Health was still assessing their business plan for a second linear accelerator and hoped the expanding Lodge would help with their application for funding.
There is a six-week wait to receive radiotherapy treatment in Orange according to Dr Porges, who said many urgent cases were being referred to Sydney.
Since the Lodge received its first guest in September 2011, 144 people from across NSW have stayed there while receiving treatment.
Dr Porges said every fortnight the single linear accelerator had to be shutdown for 24-hours for a routine service.
“On that week people can only be treated four days ... a breast cancer treatment that’s five weeks would be turned into six weeks,” he said.
Dr Porges said the business plan for a second linear accelerator had been before NSW Health for at least four months, and even if it was approved today it would still take another 12 months before it was operational.
Cancer Care Western NSW fundraising chairwoman Jan Savage has no doubt Orange will eventually receive funding for a second linear accelerator.
“They think we have to have the accommodation to get the accelerator but the wheels are already in motion,” she said.
“We know we’re getting the second accelerator ... the bunker is already built.”
“We’ll get the linear accelerator but there’s no use getting it if we don’t have the accommodation built.”